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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Prices Decline While the Cost of Crude Oil Rises
by Tom Moeller  August 16, 2022

• Gasoline prices continue moving lower.

• Crude oil prices rise slightly.

• Natural gas prices are little changed.

Retail gasoline prices fell to $3.94 per gallon (+24.1% y/y) last week after declining to $4.04 per gallon in the prior week. Prices have declined for nine consecutive weeks and were down from a record $5.01 per gallon in the second week of June.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices edged higher to $93.01 per barrel (36.1% y/y) last week after declining to $92.94 per barrel in the prior week. The price reached a peak $120.46 per barrel in the second week of June. Yesterday, the price was $89.41 per barrel. The average price of Brent crude oil rose to $104.64 per barrel (47.2% y/y) after falling to $102.54 per barrel in the prior week. The price peaked at $127.40 in mid-June. Yesterday, the price was $98.25 per barrel.

The price of natural gas rose minimally to $8.15/mmbtu (98.8% y/y) in the week of August 12 from $8.14/mmbtu in the previous week. The price remained up from a low of $3.56/mmbtu in the last week of December, but stood below the $8.95 /mmbtu high in the second week of June. Yesterday, the price was $8.62/mmbtu.

In the four weeks ended August 5, gasoline demand fell 6.3% y/y compared to 15.2% y/y growth at the end of last year. Demand for all petroleum products weakened 2.4% y/y, off from 14.4% growth at the end of 2021. Crude oil input to refineries increased a lessened 1.2% y/y.

Gasoline inventories fell 3.1% y/y in the week of August 5 while crude oil inventories declined an accelerated 15.4% y/y.

Measured in days' supply, gasoline inventories in the week ended August 5 fell sharply to 24.9 days from 26.2 days in the prior week. The supply of crude oil edged higher to 26.7 days but remained down from 41.8 days in early-March of last year.

These data are reported by the Energy Information Administration of the U.S. Department of Energy. The price data can be found in Haver's WEEKLY and DAILY databases. Greater detail on prices, as well as the demand, production and inventory data are in USENERGY.

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